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Trinity Hall Plans Chapel Hill Road School

All-girls high school operating from a temporary Leonardo location

Trinity Hall Class of 2017. Photo credit: Melissa Whelan
Trinity Hall Class of 2017. Photo credit: Melissa Whelan

Trinity Hall is expected to present permanent plans for its all-girls high school before Middletown's Planning Board on Wednesday night.

The Catholic school, proposed for 320 Chapel Hill Rd., requires preliminary and final major site plan approval from board members, according to the public notice announcing the 6:30 p.m. hearing at town hall.

Officials have made no announcement regarding whether the meeting will be rescheduled due to recent snowfall. 

The school has been operating in a temporary location on Leonardville Road in Leonardo, and is poised to service as a female counterpart to the all-boys Christian Brothers Academy in Lincroft.

Trinity Hall wants to split the land, allotting 37.75 acres for the development of the school. No current development is planned on the remaining 26.30 acres, according to the public notice.

“I feel incredibly proud of all the hard work that has gone into making this dream a reality and grateful to those who have taken this historical step with us,” said co-founder Mairead Clifford in a September statement when the school opened.

Some neighbors are concerned about the proposed development’s potential impact on the area.

“This will ruin our neighborhood,” writes Jennifer Scott, who said in an email to Patch she recently moved to the area. The proposed school would be in “our backyard, essentially.”

On the tax map, the school is planned for Block 832, Lot 93 in the R-90 Zone. No use variances are being sought, and a board decision on the application is due by March 25.

In addition to the school structure, fields for soccer and field hockey are proposed, as well as a running track, gymnasium, indoor pool, chapel and performing arts building, according to the notice.

Jennifer Valencia January 22, 2014 at 09:01 AM
Neighbors have begun a Petition against the project which is available here: http://www.ipetitions.com/my/petitions/632295
MaverickMom January 22, 2014 at 12:05 PM
Jennifer, would you prefer a school or more houses? I'd have to imagine that any open space will be be utilized for development at some point. All development has it's pros and cons as you know.
D. Scott January 22, 2014 at 01:04 PM
Maverick, your point is well taken. My understanding is that the other option for the site was a sale to a developer who planned to build 20-30 homes. The article above suggests >40% of the land would remain undeveloped under the school's plan. Does that mean not as much "clearing" as one might think? I would encourage everyone to increase their understanding of the planning specifics surrounding the school and other alternatives that might be less desirable.
aimee frankel January 22, 2014 at 01:04 PM
Steve F. This property is going to be developed. There's no doubt about it. I would much rather have a well thought out campus on half the property than some sort of "housing development" on the whole property. That will surely drive the value of our homes down. A high school campus would be great for our community; I'm 100% for it
Jennifer Valencia January 22, 2014 at 01:21 PM
The school owners are actually asking to subdivide the property. On one half will be the school. that leaves open a second half which they can then develop - which means houses AND a school!
Michele Debbs O'Connor January 22, 2014 at 01:31 PM
Neither Chapel Hill road nor Kings Highway east could accommodate the amount of traffic that would be generated by a school.
MaverickMom January 22, 2014 at 02:58 PM
agree d scott.....look at our neighborhood turning out to block Wegmans only to get condos! As I understand the Trinity school articles, there will be no houses unless I'm mistaken.
MaverickMom January 22, 2014 at 03:00 PM
Michele, what do you think will happen to those roads with additional houses or condos? All I'm saying is you have to think about what could go there as we have seen in my area
Jennifer Valencia January 22, 2014 at 03:48 PM
Maverick: The school is hoping to keep a second plot open - which they could eventually put houses on! Also the houses have to be put on 2 acre lots - so we aren't facing the prospect of townhomes. Moreover even if they fit 20 houses on the lot- and assuming families bring 2 to 3 cars- that's only 60 more cars on the road. The school can accommodate 500 to 600 students plus faculty and staff- that is a LOT of cars on Chapel Hill. Not to mention teenage drivers
MaverickMom January 22, 2014 at 05:14 PM
If the school owns the land, they can't put houses on there. also, if you just moved in as you said, why didn't you consider the fact that you were living near undeveloped land. At some point, it will be developed and the 2acre rule can always be changed. just things to think about
Rachelle Brown January 23, 2014 at 10:54 AM
The school will never have more than a few students there is very little interest in it other than the people that started it that have a third of the kids in the class. What does "is poised to service as a female counterpart to the all-boys Christian Brothers Academy" mean? I guess this place is trying to hang onto CBA since the Diocese of Trenton told them they wanted no part of it.
Middletown resident January 23, 2014 at 12:20 PM
Rachelle perhaps you should know the facts first before you spit out such garbage.
MaverickMom January 23, 2014 at 02:19 PM
so what happened at the meeting?
Jennifer Valencia January 24, 2014 at 08:48 PM
The developers witnesses spoke and residents were allowed to ask a few questions. Also Maverick I moved near undeveloped land knowing it was zoned agriculture/low density Not all undeveloped lands NEEDS to be developed. That is what attracts people to Middletown.
Middletown resident January 25, 2014 at 10:13 AM
But that is not what's its zonesd for? They are not in front of a Zoning board.
MY town January 26, 2014 at 12:09 PM
Great , a non profit tax exempt status property. Just what we need.
MY town January 27, 2014 at 04:31 PM
Who ever put a petition in my mailbox , don't ever do that again . You are not allowed to put non mail in peoples mail boxes and I didn't give you permission to do so .
diane January 27, 2014 at 04:42 PM
Why don't they go to Holy Family or St. Joseph's in Keyport or even St. Catherine's in North Middletown? Three schools builings that are vacant and they want to build another school? What is going to happen in a few years when there is not enough enrollment? Leave the building empty and the neighborhood has to look at? Use your common sense people, it goes along way.
Lou DeGeorge January 27, 2014 at 05:40 PM
Diane I don't think those properties are big enough for what is planned .
Lou Mann February 19, 2014 at 05:04 PM
So, let me get this straight. These few residents would rather have more houses and /or condos there instead of a well thought out beautifully kept girls private school? Are you kidding me? Ask people how well it turned out for Rumson Country day, Oakhill Academy, CBA ( where I grew up near) and a host of other wonderfully superior education facilities. Maybe the fact that it will promote a religious environment is what's sparking all this ? Hmm makes one wonder who is really behind this.
Portland Rd resident March 01, 2014 at 07:37 AM
R-90 is low-density residential housing with a minimum of 1 acre, according to Middletown Twp. zoning documents found here: http://clerkshq.com/content/Attachments/Middletown-nj/MiddNJC16_AppB1.pdf. Without a complete zoning reversal this will never be used for condos or other high-density housing. But the real question is, how does a private non-profit school fit this use? You can't really compare this to CBA, because CBA is on a major thoroughfare (Middletown-Lincroft Road). Without widening and improvements, the roads around this proposed project will not support an additional 200+ cars per day. Our zoning laws are supposed to protect residential areas from improper development. Why is it not working in this case?
Chris Whalen, CPA March 10, 2014 at 08:52 AM
I am writing to express my many concerns regarding the Trinity Hall Development. Trinity Hall is a commercial enterprise and will bring to our neighborhood all of the communal, societal and environmental harm that such enterprises do. Let’s project out some of the many terrible impacts this will have on our neighborhood. The Trinity Hall Development will increase the volume of: School buses and other school vehicles Student cars and Parent drop off vehicles Evening noise and light pollution. Daily noise and pollution from the school’s physical plant. and Possibly necessitate: 1) the widening of parts of Chapel Hill to install shoulders, the land for which will be taken from existing landowners on Chapel Hill Road using Eminent Domain Laws. 2) the installation of traffic lights at the intersections of Chapel Hill and Kings Highway, and Sleepy Hollow and Chapel Hill AND Definitely at the school’s main entrance on Chapel Hill itself. The Trinity Hall Development will decrease the land values surrounding it dramatically, financially devastating families already hard hit by the down turn in the real estate markets the past 6 years. What are some of the direct and unacceptable impacts on our public school attending children? The logistics for our local public schools' bus stops on Chapel Hill AND our buses that use Chapel Hill to bring our kids to school will have to be overhauled. Bus Ride LENGTHS will increase for our students boarding on Chapel Hill and using Chapel Hill Road on their bus rides. This means earlier boarding times for our children. Increased air and noise pollution along the entire corridor. Increased physical DANGER to our bus riding public school children Money will be taken in increased taxes from the students’ parents’ savings for construction projects. They will be forced to bear these charges as the school is a non-profit which does not pay real estate taxes. It will have zero responsibility financially for these multi-million dollar improvements that will be necessary, now and ad infinitum. These funds should be going towards OUR students’ education, and not funding the education of strangers who are not contributing to our community. There are enough private schools in the area to service the needs of our community. From a simple zoning and planning perspective alone, this project should be rejected as there is ample township real estate dedicated to this “Business Purpose.” Only if there was a true and incontestable direct community need for such a large commercial operation in the heart of our neighborhood, should such a land, family and way-of-life altering project be considered. That is clearly not the case. The opposite is true. Thank you for your time. Sincerely, Christopher R. Whalen, CPA Concerned Parent and Chapel Hill Resident
Rachelle Brown March 10, 2014 at 11:22 AM
Nice ties.
Book Binder March 10, 2014 at 04:38 PM
I drive by both CBA and Oak Hill on a daily basis..sometimes twice a day. If I'm not mistaken this school will have about the same number of students as Oak Hill does. Traffic is not an issue there so why would it be so on Chapel Hill? As a tax payer I like the idea of no more $15,000.00 a year students coming into the school district which would be the case if this land was developed for housing.

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